Beazley reported a pre-tax profit of £17.1m for the year ended 31 December 2003.

This compared to a pre-tax profit of £1.2m the previous year.

Beazley syndicates 623 and 2623 reported a 62% increase in gross written premiums (GWP) to £708m. This compared to £438m the previous year.

The syndicates' combined ratio stood at 82%, against 94% the previous year.

The syndicates' specialty lines GWP totalled £341m, against £166m in 2002. Property GWP reached £188m, compared to £145m the previous year.

The syndicates' marine GWP stood at £88m, compared to £60m in 2002. Reinsurance GWP increased to £91m, against £67m in 2002.

The board announced a final dividend of 0.5p per share, which brought the total dividend for 2003 to 0.75p per share.

Beazley chief executive Andrew Beazley said: "In 2004, we shall start to see the earnings potential of the group as we consolidate on the growth we have achieved in recent years."

"We will have profits coming through in 2004 on business undertaken in both 2003 and 2004."